Naturewatch - today I saw....

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Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby suffolk » March 5th, 2011, 5:40 pm

Today, just as I was leaving home I saw a flock of starlings on the telegraph wires at the end of our street. Funny, I thought, wrong time of day for them to be flocking together :? As I got closer I realised it was a flock of more than 100 Waxwings :D :D :D :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
(There were at least 10 on each wire and more than 10 wires). They kept leaving the wires and going to a cotoneaster that was covered in berries (not for long :D ). OH just said they were there yesterday morning too - I'll have to have a look tomorrow.
I've not seen waxwings for years and years, and never in the centre of a city!

On my journey to Suffolk I also saw a beautiful large hare nibbling the shoots of the winter wheat, and a huge heron flying a bit erratically around some hawthorn bushes on the edge of a pond.

Anyone else seen any Nature today ?
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby PatsyMFagan » March 5th, 2011, 5:54 pm

There has been loads of wax-wings around these parts lately too. However, I've never seen them :( There is a web-site daughter visits that tells where there has been sitings. She would be soooooo jealous Suffolk - her friend has had them in her garden and was so excited.

The only nature I have seen today are a couple of parakeets in the garden. :(
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby hickybank » March 5th, 2011, 6:03 pm

How lucky was that,
I have been bird watching for years and only saw my first Waxwing this year, and then only one, but this year is a very good year for them.

I did manage a picture of a heron yesterday, see below.

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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby hickybank » March 5th, 2011, 6:07 pm

Should also have added, this is a waxwing, (the only one saw)

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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby suffolk » March 5th, 2011, 6:10 pm

Terry, that photo of the heron is amazing, they're one of my favourite birds - I used to play in a meadow with the embryonic River Deben running through it and a heronry in the trees on the riverbank. Idyllic :D
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby Chinchilla_lady » March 5th, 2011, 8:14 pm

Just love herons too :luv: hope the waxwings do head north a bit I have never seen one in the feather (nearly said flesh then) only in pics.

BTW, lovely pics Terry
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby Fiona » March 6th, 2011, 3:21 pm

beautiful photos Terry, we see Herons here but I'm not sure about Waxwings - I'll have to ask my friend, she knows everything about birds!

Our garden is teeming with great tits (I think, tits of some sort) recently, there can be 20 of them in the apple tree at once, its so lovely to see. It was the same last year, I suppose they nest around here somewhere...? (we live in suburbia!)

we have lots of gulls, and Dunnocks too.

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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby mobile SloeGin » March 6th, 2011, 3:30 pm

I saw 2 large buzzards sitting on telegraph poles today. No waxwings though. Don't think I've ever seen one.
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby FoodMary » March 6th, 2011, 3:40 pm

We have had a huge flock of fieldfares here and according to my book they are not usual in this area - they should be departing soon, but maybe the lovely weather has brought them to Snowdonia.

I have had a huge cock pheasant on the bird table feeding. Usually I chase him away but I know that a friends lurcher killed his ladyfriend the other day so I'm being nice to him. Trouble is he keeps the other birds away.

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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby suffolk » March 7th, 2011, 6:19 am

Aw! Bless him - there are plenty of unattached pheasant hens in the Norfolk countryside - at this time of year the cocks have only one thing on their mind and lose any sense of self preservation that they may have had, and strut out into the middle of the road to fight all-comers for the attention of the females - usually just as a vehicle is driving past :(
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby cyprusmoira » March 7th, 2011, 6:54 am

Obviously we have different birds in Cyprus. We have been waiting for the swallows, they were late but are now here in big numbers. They are not hunting for nesting sites yet, we do not mind them in the side porch, it is north facing, therefore cool. But we have a battle stopping them from building in the front porch as we sit there.

The sight that I enjoy is the flocks of migrating birds. Some years big flocks of Black Ibis fly over us, we have also seen small groups of kites flying north, I forget which sort of kite they were.

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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby pinkmacaroon » March 7th, 2011, 2:03 pm

I saw a Treecreeper last week and my sister has frogspawn in her pond.
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby WWordsworth » March 7th, 2011, 2:31 pm

I didn't see him but I heard a woodpecker as I got out of the car at work, at 0730 today.

I have a very clear outline of a bird on my kitchen window at the moment.
The wing tips, claws, eyes & nostrils are really clear.
I had a look around but couldn't find the culprit. :)
A friend who knows about birds says it was probably a pigeon
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby tinyTrishkins » March 7th, 2011, 2:45 pm

OH and I saw a mole yesterday..or vole, can't tell the difference...it was scampering over the green on the 8th at The Glen golf course, North Berwick...so cute :D
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby PatsyMFagan » March 7th, 2011, 4:24 pm

Probably a vole Trish - moles are rarely seen above ground.

We are having another lovely sunny day here. Warm enough for the doors in the conservatory to be open while a spring clean is carried out.

I think tomorrow is going to be colder though (brrrrr smiley) although hopefully not cold enough for :sball: :lol:
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby StokeySue » March 7th, 2011, 5:21 pm

Voles are about 1/5 the size of moles and streamlined in shape - moles have broad shoulders for all that tunneling

We haven't had anything interesting apart from urban seagulls in my neck of the woods, though it did make me think that the London pigeons seem to have disappeared (hurrah) - they used to bathe in the gulleys on my roof made a very funny noise scraping their little feet on the zinc.

Did see a marsh harrier over the car park though with my parents about 3 weeks ago - one of their few haunts is near my parents, and we think this one (a female I think) had been blown inland off the marshes, as it was during the high winds. I've checked, and there were one or two around that week.
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby J’ai_glissé,chef! » March 7th, 2011, 5:30 pm

Yesterday OH and I were wandering in deepest Wiltshire, heard (and saw) a skylark singing as it rose over a field...
sadly, they are becoming rarer :( and they are such a treat to behold.
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby ianinfrance » March 7th, 2011, 6:50 pm

Saw my first butterfly of the season today. We've had a lovely warm sunny day, so it's the sort of weather that encourages them out. I'm not sure what it was, as I was driving at about 60 mph at the time and all I saw was a flutter of yellow. I don't THINK it was a Brimstone so it was probably a clouded yellow, which are pretty early too.
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby suffolk » March 7th, 2011, 7:45 pm

How lovely to hear of all these signs of spring - looking forward to butterflies here in Norfolk Ian :D We sometimes get hummingbird hawk moths on the buddliea outside my office window :D

And very good to hear of frogspawn. When I was a child, at spawning time I could hear the frogs in the pond near our farmhouse when I lay in bed at night.
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby ianinfrance » March 7th, 2011, 10:45 pm

suffolk wrote:We sometimes get hummingbird hawk moths on the buddliea outside my office window :D


We don't do Buddleia very well here, tried but without great success. However we've got an Abelia chinensis
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in the front garden and apart from being beautifully scented in the late summer and autumn afternoons, it's ab absolute magnet for all sorts of butterflies and things. Hummingbird hawk moths, certainly, but also Brimstones peacocks, Red admirals, and some less common ones like Map. We do good butterflies here. Mind you, if you walk along the dunes between the Royal Brancaster and the Sea, in the summer, it's hopping with them too.
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby suffolk » March 8th, 2011, 6:26 am

People are often surprised to see butterflies at the coast aren't they - but they've come across from Europe and are stopping for a rest before they move inland - Brancaster area is one of our favourites Ian :D and that Abelia looks gorgeous - I wasn't aware of it rivalling Buddliea in the butterfly attraction stakes - I'll remember that 'cos buddleia isn't always suitable for a plot. I'm wondering, can the Abelia take a little shade do you think?I
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby ianinfrance » March 8th, 2011, 10:43 am

Hi again,
suffolk wrote: can the Abelia take a little shade do you think?I


I guess so, because that's what ours has. We grow it in the front garden (about 10m N<>S) between our own house and the place we run our B&B. There's a fairly mature flowering cherry (Spire) about 5 metres to the west of it, which shades it somewhat from the afternoon sun. However, the Norfolk coast is a LONG was further north than we are and so the intensity of the sunlight is far higher. I've looked up a little on line and there's one site that says that it's only dislikes are very dry or very wet soil. However it also says it's slow growing (round objects) and evergreen (it isn't really) so I'm unconvinced by them. The RHS encyclopedia is a broken reed, as it doesn't mention Chinense, the Reader's Digest encyclopedia says it requires full sun. I guess that if your shade is light, it will do fine.
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby tinyTrishkins » March 8th, 2011, 11:35 am

Ian....driving at 60mph, you sure it wasn't a toffee wrapper :lol:
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby ianinfrance » March 8th, 2011, 3:10 pm

tinyTrishkins wrote:Ian....driving at 60mph, you sure it wasn't a toffee wrapper :lol:
:lol: :lol: Yup, even at my great age, and at 60 mph I can tell the difference. The biggest problem out here is to keep one's eye on the road. There is so much to look at. In fact my car has a special "champignon" gear setting. It goes forward at about 15kph, but when you dab the brakes, it goes into reverse and backs up for about 50 metres.
:lol:
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby tinyTrishkins » March 8th, 2011, 3:55 pm

:lol:

OH has been using our little car for work latley ( better on gas ) but the other day we went out in the big car, it's automatic, took him ages to get used to it :lol:

Mum's fox appeared last night for the first time this year...well first time of us seeing it! It seems to patrol around dusk, mum calls it the beast! :lol:
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby J’ai_glissé,chef! » March 8th, 2011, 4:43 pm

ooh and long-tailed tits today, on the bird feeder, such agile & pretty little things, white and pink and black ....
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby PatsyMFagan » March 8th, 2011, 5:43 pm

LOng Tailed tits are probably my favourite bird in the garden. I love their antics and they are even more cute when they come down onto the patio to feed.

At the moment though we have a vistiing Sparrow Hawk, so they are all keeping their distance :(
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby suffolk » March 8th, 2011, 7:50 pm

ianinfrance wrote:Hi again,
suffolk wrote: can the Abelia take a little shade do you think?I

I guess that if your shade is light, it will do fine.


I'm thinking about the garden at work, outside my office window , it's westfacing and good well-draining soil - I've dug out some shrubs that were butchered by the groundsmen and am replanting it bit by bit in my lunch hour - if I don't get to keep my job this week I'll have done a lot of gardening and provided lots of plants for nothing ... but it's good to have something interesting to look at out of the window :oops: and also good to take exercise at lunchtime :D There are plans to replace the windows before they fall out so I'd better wait until that's been done or the builders will mangle anything big that I plant :roll:
My window has a view of a winter flowering cherry in the middle of the lawn and I have bird feeders hanging on it - we have at least 6 goldfinches, 4 greenfinches and loads of gt, blue, coal and long tailed tits, as well as robins, blackbirds, chaffinches wrens, dunnocks, collared doves etc, plus visits from green woodpeckers, jays, woodpigeons and the occasional sparrowhawk :scared: . Last summer we also had blackcaps and yellow wagtails visiting, amongst others.
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby suffolk » March 9th, 2011, 6:40 am

I got a text from my daughter yesterday - she feeds the birds in her town-centre garden - yesterday morning a bird of prey swooped down after some collared doves . It perched on the shed roof for a moment before setting off in pursuit ... from checking her book she's pretty certain it was a peregrine ... she said the birds have been pretty jumpy ever since.
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby Tatihou » March 9th, 2011, 6:50 am

Peregrines tend only to like areas with cliffs - or something that resembles cliffs... extinct quarries for eg - or at a push, tall buildings. Also, peregrines tend (nothing is certain in nature) to take a bird by "stooping" on it at speed from above, achieving speeds of up to 180 miles per hour! Sparrowhawks, otoh, will "chase" birds and certainly the female (it is bigger than the male) is capable of taking a pigeon. But it's not impossible that what she saw was a peregrine - and I have seen one take a pigeon in a town... quite spectacular. Which town was your daughter in?

Last night I saw two tawny owls hunting. I took photos but only have a couple of distant (and fuzzy) silhouettes in trees against a very dusk-y sky. Still, I know what they are! And out driving yesterday morning, I saw a very large hare legging it up a field into a wood. Gorgeous.

And down at the pond, my tadpoles have hatched out. Yea! Just in time to become food for the dragonfly larvae that populate the silt in the pond. But that is nature and the dragonflies are stunning when they emerge in early summer. This one had climbed the brambles alongside the pool, then broken out of it's nymph casing (exuvia) and done a sort of headstand to hang beneath it while the wings and body finished hardening in the sun. Then off it flew.

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Male Golden-ringed Dragonfly and exuvia
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby suffolk » March 9th, 2011, 7:02 am

She's in Ipswich ... near the river and some very tall buildings around the docks - we've had peregrines here in Norwich in the past - not sure if they're still here. I've also watched them on the cliffs at Tintagel. When DD told me I suggested she looked at Sparrowhawks and Peregrines - she's fairly certain it was a peregrine. :D

I love frogspawn and tadpoles :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby Tatihou » March 9th, 2011, 7:14 am

I think Peregrines "holiday" in winter on the east coast so Ipswich is right general area as is Norfolk. I've often seen them "stooping" and it is simply thrilling, heart-stopping, to watch them as they drop.

I love my taddies too... a few years ago we had tadpole swarms and when they became froglets and left the pool, the area was a no-go area for about 10 days because it was impossible to avoid stepping on them as they emerged to hide in the long grass. There's nowhere near that number this year and as we have so many dragonfly nymphs - voracious feeders - I know that a lot of this year's taddies won't make frogs.

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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby suffolk » March 9th, 2011, 7:37 am

Lovely pic Tatihou - thanks! :D
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby PatsyMFagan » March 9th, 2011, 9:13 am

The sparrow-hawk was back this morning. I was watching the birds out of my bedroom window this morning, when I caught something out of the corner of my eye fly into the garden - the birds all scattered and disappeared. A short while later I came downstairs to the see the SH chasing a small bird through a lilac shrub - Not sure if he caught his breakfast :(
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby StokeySue » March 9th, 2011, 10:29 am

I had to wait to get into the car park at work this morning while a moorhen took a leisurely, but purposeful, stroll across the mini-roundabout

They look slightly strange out of the water

We get loads of water birds here, as we are on the Union Canal, next to a samll marina
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby miss mouse » March 9th, 2011, 12:33 pm

I was surprised to see a bald eagle hovering over a field in Essex yesterday then realised that it was a pidgeon-scarer :oops:

a bit like this

http://bancannons.tripod.com/eagle-device.html
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby J’ai_glissé,chef! » March 9th, 2011, 1:32 pm

@Suffolk

Almost exactly the same list of birds as visit ours, Suffolk, (but no yellow wagtails), we currently have a pair of blackcaps, they like the ,erm, 'fat balls'

You didn't list starlings? or Magpies?

I would really like to have house sparrows, there are some a couple of streets away but they never make it to our feeder.

Late summer last year the goldfinches were in and out of our rosemary bushes, eating the seeds I guess. So cute ! and they have a lovely little song too with 'iquid' notes. :luv:
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby amazing » March 9th, 2011, 1:36 pm

miss mouse wrote:I was surprised to see a bald eagle hovering over a field in Essex yesterday then realised that it was a pidgeon-scarer :oops:

a bit like this

http://bancannons.tripod.com/eagle-device.html


We've got some of those up here as well. Ours are sparrow hawks, well not actually ours but you know what I mean.
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby suffolk » March 9th, 2011, 8:33 pm

J’ai_glissé,chef! wrote:@Suffolk
Almost exactly the same list of birds as visit ours, Suffolk, (but no yellow wagtails), we currently have a pair of blackcaps, they like the ,erm, 'fat balls'
You didn't list starlings? or Magpies?
I would really like to have house sparrows, there are some a couple of streets away but they never make it to our feeder.
Late summer last year the goldfinches were in and out of our rosemary bushes, eating the seeds I guess. So cute ! and they have a lovely little song too with 'iquid' notes. :luv:


We only get occasional starlings, but plenty of magpies and jackdaws, plus gulls overhead. We don't get our blackcaps til the spring. Think ours are migrants - yours probably overwinter with you as you're that bit further south than us. We have loads of housesparrows here at home as many of the houses in our street have old pantiled roofs with built in nest spaces :lol:
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby suffolk » March 26th, 2011, 11:58 am

I just went out to the back garden to hang some more washing out, just as another large flock of waxwings arrived and settled on the tv aerials of the houses behind ours - just sitting there looking amazing and twittering and trilling - they look and sound beautiful. :luv:
I ran next door to our neighbour 'cos he's a real Birder and he told me the other day that he's never seen one, but he's not in :(
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby hickybank » March 26th, 2011, 3:39 pm

I am surprised I have no Frog spawn yet, they are mating in my pond but so far nothing to show, my neighbour has lots so might have to pinch some.

We have Buzzards circling over the top of the house they look brilliant when the sun catches them.

waxwings we have only seen one of this year, they are beautiful birds.

here is a Nuthatch I photographed earlier this year, they are lovely to look at.


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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby ianinfrance » March 26th, 2011, 4:00 pm

We saw a pair in the garden yesterday, which was good. It's always reassuring when they come back. The other bird we saw here for the first time was a hawfinch. Although they aren't particularly rare, they are quite shy and it's the first time Jacquie's seen one.
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby suffolk » March 26th, 2011, 4:26 pm

Now you see, I may have seen hundreds of waxwings this year, but I've never seen a hawfinch :(
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby ianinfrance » March 26th, 2011, 5:28 pm

Well, Jacquie's been a keen birdwatcher for at least thirty years and this was the first time for her.

This is a good area for varied fauna. Because there's a very complicated geology, with granite and bog, free draining schist, limestone, alluvial river valley and sandstone, all within about 20 km of us here, we have a very widely varied flora, as you might have seen from my website. In addition, being deeply agricultural there's practically no atmospheric pollution and so plants that don't tolerate pollution are found here too. So we get things like purple toothwort asphodels, broomrape , yellow rattle and wonderful orchids

So with that variety of plants and trees, we have loads of animals that rely on them - butterflies and moths of course, but the birds that live with them too and birds of prey. Buzzards are tw a penny, black and red kites are common, sparrowhawks merlins and harriers are all fairly common while perigrines, booted and short toed eagles all have their regular nest sites and can easily be seen. Loads of game too.
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby suffolk » March 26th, 2011, 6:44 pm

Wow, Ian, a lot of those I've only seen in places like Skye or Dartmoor, but Broomrape I had in my old garden back in Mid-Suffolk, believe it or not !
And I told my neighbour about the waxwings when he came home this afternoon - he was sorry to have missed them but will keep his binoculars handy as they're obviously hanging around the neighbourhood - he was out in the Norfolk countryside on his bike yesterday afternoon and saw two kites, a sparrowhawk and a buzzard being mobbed by crows - we're very lucky here too. :D
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby ianinfrance » March 27th, 2011, 8:08 am

Hi Suffolk,
suffolk wrote: Broomrape I had in my old garden back in Mid-Suffolk, believe it or not !
Oh I'm can well believe it. About the first time I ever recognized it here was growing in a stone wall between the road and the Dordogne, just on the outskirts of Beaulieu.
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby suffolk » March 27th, 2011, 9:05 am

My part of Suffolk also has loads of orchids - I once lived close to one of the last pieces of unfenced common land in Suffolk with commoners' grazing rights - in spring it was covered with early purples and pyramidal orchids, later in the year there were various others in scattered colonies, plus a regular very heavy crop of Psilocybe semilanceata, well-known to a group of the biking fraternity who would turn up at the appropriate time of year and claim Squatters' Rights.
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby PatsyMFagan » March 27th, 2011, 12:25 pm

I saw a Red Kite today - it had come down to clean up after the birth of a foal in the field at end of my garden. I had a scramble to get my camera, managed a couple of shots, but camera now ready for when he comes back (fingers crossed smiley ;) )
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby globetrotter » March 27th, 2011, 4:15 pm

On a negative note, today I found three lily beetles in my garden!
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Re: Naturewatch - today I saw....

Postby uschi » March 27th, 2011, 4:32 pm

And I caught some Alpine newts (that's a positive note, btw). They were put right back into their pond after modelling for me. The pretty one with the red belly and the stripes down his spine is the male.

http://img541.imageshack.us/slideshow/webplayer.php?id=berberitzen.jpg
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